By G.A.Ponsonby
If I were to put to you that the vast majority of the journalists reporting on the independence debate were doing so in a professional manner, you might be forgiven for thinking I was commending the behaviour of the assorted scribes and broadcasters who dominate the traditional media landscape.
However, if I were to suggest at the same time that despite clear professionalism that ethics was severely lacking, then you might be confused.

The explanation is that the two are not the same – one can behave in a totally professional manner whilst behaving completely unethically.

Take football for example.  It is widely accepted that a deliberate foul on an opponent in order to prevent an advantage being gained is good practice – it is ‘professional’ to break the rules.  Players will simulate being fouled and feign serious injury in order to persuade the referee to penalise the opposition.

But there are of course vocations where professionalism and ethics are one and the same.  Medicine for instance has extremely high professional and ethical standards.  The Hippocratic Oath forbids doctors to act in any way other than in the best interests of their patient. 

Doctors routinely act in a professional manner that extends this oath and sees communities and society benefit.  Doctors are, in turn, given respect and status that reflects their commitment to high ethical and professional standards.

Journalism too has a code of ethics.

In the US, journalists are told their duty: “is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.  Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty.  Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility.”

In the UK, the National Union of Journalists lists twelve guidelines for journalists, one of which says: a good journalist: “Strives to ensure that information disseminated is honestly conveyed, accurate and fair”

However, since 2007 I would argue we have in Scotland witnessed a deterioration in journalistic ethics.  This is becoming more and more evident in the way that the independence debate is being reported by our press and broadcast media.

One example of the lack of ethics is the way a recent response from EC Vice President Viviane Reding was deliberately mis-reported by Scottish based journalists. 

Ms Reding had replied to a question from a Spanish government official who had suggested that Catalonia could be stripped of EU membership if it declared unilateral independence without consulting the Spanish government.

The EC Vice president issued a diplomatic response essentially agreeing with the, unashamedly, loaded question.  Nevertheless, it was clear – the issue being discussed was one where there was no agreement between the parent state and the region.  It is also a fact that Spain’s constitution expressly forbids any independence referendum without the consent of Madrid.  As such there was no correlation between Catalonia and Scotland – the Edinburgh Agreement rendered the exchange between the EC and Madrid moot.

However, that didn’t stop the communication being used by at least two high profile journalists here in Scotland in order to bolster the anti-independence narrative.  Both the Herald’s Magnus Gardham and the Guardian’s Severin Carrell recently cited Ms Reding in articles supporting Unionist arguments that an independent Scotland would have to leave the EU.

Referring to UK government claims that an independent Scotland would not remain a member of the EU, Mr Carrell wrote that Westminster was:  “Referring to statements by European commission president, José Manuel Barroso, and his deputy, Viviane Reding, that a newly independent country would be seen as a new applicant…”

According to the Herald’s Magnus Gardham, Viviane Reding - in a letter to the Spanish Government - had “backed comments suggesting a newly independent country would have to apply for membership.”

The basis for the argument on which each journalists built his article was not true, Ms Reding has never said that “a newly independent country would be seen as a new applicant”. 

It was invention as anyone who has followed Ms Reding’s statements knows fine well.  Newsnet Scotland published an article to that effect which very clearly explained the context of the communications between the EC Vice President and a Spanish government official.

Indeed it was Newsnet Scotland who exposed as false, previous denials from the EC that Ms Reding had dismissed the idea that international law meant Catalonia would be expelled from the EU in the event of independence.

The articles were presented in a professional manner, but ethically, they left a lot to be desired.

This kind of misrepresentation isn’t isolated.  Last week, another newspaper claimed as “recent” an 18 month old interview with a Belgian politician and President of the EC, Herman Van Rompuy.

The Observer newspaper has since admitted its error.  Stephen Pritchard, the paper’s Readers’ editor called the article “not the Observer’s finest hour”.

The Observer has now amended the article and published a statement beneath making it clear that the original description of the interview as “recent” was wrong.  It has also added a response from First Minister Alex Salmond.

Commendable and something that perhaps Mr Gardham and Mr Carrell might wish to reflect on.

The problem of course is that whether through partisan desire, ignorance or just plain incompetence, these stories are published and then gain a foothold.  Other news vendors then pick them up and promulgate as truth that which is very easily demonstrated to be myth.

The unwitting consumers of these reports are the public who accept what they read and hear as true and, as a result, are misled as to the truth of the matter.

Misreporting and misrepresentation of comments and exchanges is only one aspect where ethics are sadly jettisoned in favour of the editorial line, or personal prejudice.

The other is the blithe acceptance as fact, that which is passed to journalists by some politicians.

Last week we witnessed the latest in an ever growing conveyor belt of dubious claims when the UK Treasury published figures that apparently showed Scots benefited financially from the Union far more than their London counterparts.

The figures underpinned articles and commentary that, yet again, sought to sow seeds of doubt as to the merits of Scottish independence.

The claims though were exposed as bordering on fraudulent when it emerged the Scottish stats were eleven years out of date.

But that’s the print media – what of the BBC, specifically BBC Scotland.

BBC Scotland

It won’t have gone unnoticed that the BBC is not in a good place at the moment.  The UK institution has been beset with allegations of cover-up over the Jimmy Savile revelations.  A botched attempt at explaining the reasons behind the shelving of a Newsnight exposé of Savile ended with an apology and an admission that the initial reasons given for the cancellation were false.

This weekend the BBC’s crisis deepened after Newsnight falsely implicated a Tory peer in the North Wales child abuse scandal.

George Entwistle’s resignation followed after he admitted he knew nothing of the programme prior to broadcast or the critical headlines that appeared last Friday in morning newspapers following its broadcast.

The Entwistle ‘I know nothing’ was shocking and effectively left him nowhere to go but to stand down as DG. 

Entwistle’s admission exposes a culture at the BBC that apparently gives producers carte blanche to broadcast pretty much what they want.

Had the English media not scrutinised the BBC then the UK licence payer would never have known that the state broadcaster had effectively broadcast allegations that were entirely false.

And if the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme can broadcast falsehoods relating to something as serious as paedophilia, then what of the more banal, but equally inaccurate and one-sided stories that regularly pepper BBC news programmes in Scotland?

In Scotland we have a media who are professional, there’s that word again.  The collective term used to describe this professional group is Main Stream Media (MSM).  This includes BBC Scotland, as well as the national daily and Sunday newspapers.

However with the great debate currently raging over Scotland’s constitutional status, and with no member of the Scottish MSM supportive if independence, then there is little appetite for the kind of scrutiny that the BBC south of the border occasionally faces – we have no checks and balances in order to mitigate partisan excess.

In short, at the heart of the BBC in Scotland, there exists a culture that is ripe for abuse, and the lack of scrutiny provides a fertile environment in which to cultivate any partisan excess.  There is nothing to compel BBC Scotland producers to broadcast balanced, informative and objective coverage of the independence debate.

BBC Scotland has done, and will continue to, suppress news stories or interventions harmful to the pro-Union argument [From Iain Gray’s Montenegro slurs, Johann Lamont’s fabricated rape case], embellish and promote stories helpful to the pro-Union case [Megrahi release, Salmond liar],  and even broadcast allegations it knows are baseless [Jackie Baillie’s attack on the NHS infection rates].

We already know that the head of BBC Scotland news and current affairs has links to the Labour party.  Indeed John Boothman once suggested that BBC facilities be used in order to provide media training to members of the Labour party.

There is no doubt that Mr Boothman behaves in a professional manner.  However how can we be sure that his personal political leanings do not colour his approach to political news?

It is surely not ethical to have someone with such close links to Scotland’s major pro-Union party as head of news at the BBC in Scotland.  We know that BBC Scotland has employed, as political reporters, people who were Labour councillors and election candidates for the Labour party.  Again, is this entirely ethical?

At a private conference earlier this year, Mr Boothman made two quite extraordinary statements.  In echoes of George Entwistle’s “I know nothing” defence, Mr Boothman told his audience that one of the things about BBC Scotland was that “you don’t get that many complaints”.

What Mr Boothman perhaps means is that he is not aware of the number of complaints that BBC Scotland actually does receive.

Another worrying comment from Mr Boothman at the presentation, given the dire and at times one sided coverage of the independence debate, was his suggestion about the ‘Great Debate’ which he appeared to imply was too far off to warrant special attention.

What resources there are appear to be being spent on headlining politically motivated claims and attacks usually, but not exclusively, from Unionist politicians.  The relative lack of resources means that many of these attacks are rarely scrutinised to ensure they are based on fact.

One such example, already mentioned briefly, was the airtime handed to Labour MSP Jackie Baillie at the start of this year by BBC Scotland in order to allow Ms Baillie to mount an attack on the Scottish NHS Hospital infection levels.  Ms Baillie’s claims however were completely bogus.

Not in the same league as false paedophile claims, but the principle is exactly the same.  These were demonstrably false claims that a cursory application of journalistic rigour would have established as such, and whilst not directly part of the independence debate, all politics in Scotland is now linked to the constitution.

Currently there is a campaign by the anti-independence parties aimed at attacking the integrity of Alex Salmond.  BBC Scotland is playing its part in this campaign with news bulletins constantly repeating the accusations, the heart of which is centred on a BBC interview conducted by Andrew Neil.

The reputation of the BBC and the professional delivery of the bulletins and reports bestow credibility on the accusations many times greater than had they been restricted to a partisan newspaper.

The ethical question mark is raised when we note that missing from these BBC Scotland reports is evidence that Alex Salmond was entirely honest in his statements, both in the interview and the subsequent statements to Parliament.

The intervention by the Lord Advocate supporting the First Minister is afforded less of a profile than party political attacks from politicians who have made similar claims against Mr Salmond - on at least five separate occasions – all have been found baseless.

Presenters at Pacific Quay exhibit all of the presentational skills one associates with a world class broadcaster.  Radio Scotland’s Gary Robertson and Mhairi Stuart both have that crisp professional delivery and conduct interviews with impressive speed of thought.

On TV, Jackie Bird demonstrates just why she is anchor of Reporting Scotland, viewed by half a million people each evening Ms Bird glides through each programme skilfully navigating each item and moving seamlessly from one to the other.

The ability to communicate effortlessly marks these people out and is one reason that they are in the employ of the BBC, on significantly higher salaries than most other news vendors would pay in Scotland.

However, the ability to speak into a microphone, on or off camera is not in itself enough to be allowed access to the livingrooms of the nation. 

One must demonstrate a high degree of ethical journalism, after all, the consumers of BBC broadcasts, unlike newspaper readers, have no choice but to pay the wages of these people through the TV licence fee.

And that is the rub.

As has been pointed out on these very threads, if the BBC was reliant on advertising or sponsorship for its existence then it would by now, as a result of the Newsnight and Savile scandal, be facing a funding crisis. 

But it doesn’t, and this is entirely down to the tax that people have to pay in order to receive TV signals.

The current mess the BBC finds itself in should see a “radical overhaul” at the corporation according to the Chair of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten.  Jeremy Paxman has already claimed that the problems that caused the Newsnight paedophile disaster extend to other areas of the BBC.

What other areas Paxman didn’t say.

Whether that overhaul, if indeed there is to be one, will extend to the BBC’s Scottish outpost remains to be seen.

It isn’t good enough to pretend BBC Scotland is immune from a damaged culture that is now threatening a reputation built up through decades of journalistic excellence.

If nothing happens at Pacific Quay, then the BBC’s legal right to insist that Scots pay the £145.50 annual licence fee in the lead up to, and beyond, the 2014 referendum may be up for legal challenge.

In the meantime, the BBC is now dancing to an English media tune and good luck to the English pipers. 

Oh but for similar music up here.


# sneckedagain 2012-11-11 23:09
This is something we have to address seriously.
If we establish firmly in the minds of most people that a newspaper or the BBC has told a significant and deliberate lie or lies we undermine everything they say
# Bill C 2012-11-11 23:25
This a tremendous piece of work by Mr. Ponsonby and must be valued by all who place democracy as the central pillar of a civilised society. Like many in the movement for Scottish self determination, I have been increasingly concerned at the obvious anti-independence bias displayed by the MSM in Scotland and by BBC Scotland in particular.
Thanks to news sites like Newsnet Scotland, evidence has been building of media manipulation of the referendum debate. I would argue that it is now time to use the evidence collected and present a case to the appropriate authorities.
I do not think that I am alone in Scotland in being extremely concerned at the way in which our democracy is being undermined. When the media in a country loses its sense of ethics, you can be sure that a dictatorship is not far away!
# Hugo 2012-11-12 16:38
Who are the appropriate authorities?
# Rabbie 2012-11-12 00:13
Can the media or it's warkers no be sued for damages efter tellin lees aboot fowk or the things thae fowk is campaignin for?
# m4rkyboy 2012-11-12 00:23
O/T but more American resistance to Independence.
Madeline Albright repeats the Washington post view of '..fragmentation does not help on that. It is counter to where people were going.'
I am starting to view things differently now with these interventions.We have Spanish Falangists desperate to maintain there 'indivisble' country.American right-wingers,again 'indivisible',trying to retain access to the GIUK gap and rUK,desperate to retain their security council seat,oil revenues etc.The only difference is that the UK is not indivisible but i can bet you they look enviously at the USA and Spanish constitutional settlements.Could the word 'indivisible' be the tool that the UK needs to fulfil its recent promise to put to bed the issue of Scottish independence?This Imperialist alliance is starting to anger me.The USA disappoints and saddens me.Spanish intervention was unexpected.The rUK stance i was prepared for.
# J Wil 2012-11-12 00:49
I saw the article. They don't say it outright, but they imply, because Allbright is a friend of Hilary Clinton, that it's Clinton's view too. All to avoid Clinton being accused of interfering directly in the political affairs of another country.
# chicmac 2012-11-12 02:17
Albright went to Saddam Hussein and told him that his dispute with Kuwait would be regarded by the USA as an internal matter to Iraq and Kuwait. One of the most evil and immoral acts perpetrated in human history because, of course, Saddam took that as an O.K. to invade.
Nice woman, not. Lot of blood on her talons.
# Marga B 2012-11-12 00:26
re. Viviane Reding.

Newsnet Scotland has proved she said that international law does not require seceding states to be expelled from Europe.

This has become crucial, because Ms Reding's back-tracking on her interpretation of international laaw on seceding states has now become part of the EU script - the latest episode being an address in Berlin this weekend. However, she (arguably with the EU) has been discredited, thanks to NNS exposure.

Why does she insist? Spanish pressure, they say. But the UK press can never again quote her with integrity.

Ethics in journalism includes putting a back-stop on lies. The Newsnet name is still being quoted today (Monday) in the Catalan press:
# Frankly 2012-11-12 00:46
A manifestly dysfunctional anglocentric monstrosity:
# km 2012-11-12 01:22
The problem is that any change to BBC funding will take years for review, recommendation and implementation. The license fee will still be in place by 2014, which means we will be paying for at least the next 2 years for the tripe that is spouted.

With regards to editorial, and ethical, policy, Chris Patten has his hands completely full at the moment, even if he had originally been inclined to get involved in Scottish issues which he clearly did not.

My cynical thought is that the whole sorry paedophile episode may even allow BBC Scotland a freer rein to do what it is already doing, while attention is diverted elsewhere. There will be no quick fix. I can only think that some sort of legal challenge is the answer. The BBC certainly took notice when Lord McAlpine's lawyer got involved. What about it, Yes Scotland campaign? And/or the OSCE?
# Deewal 2012-11-12 03:18
Excellent article.
# mealer 2012-11-12 07:36
Lets be pragmatic.The MSM arent going to change their tune.So we must bypass them and take our message straight to the people.Most Scots know not to believe everything they read.Thats why so many of them went against MSM advice and voted SNP at the last election.Its not good for the leadership of YES or the SNP to be seen to be girning about the unfairness of it all.
The NO campaign,and the MSM,is based in London.It does not have Scotlands best interests at heart.
# clootie 2012-11-12 08:02
Good article - perhaps too polite.

..........but what do we do?
# Breeks 2012-11-12 08:14
This media cabal isn't a trade off between professionalism and ethics. It's rampant bias and forfeiting of journalistic integrity.

If we let them, these so called 'professionals' will steal our opportunity for Independence and doom our country and our children to decades more of poverty, belittling, underinvestment , deprivation and asset stripping.

If these journalists want my respect, then oblige them to have a degree of integrity and declare their unionist allegiances so the uninformed can at least be aware of the potential for bias. I may not agree with him, but at least I might respect a journalist who openly stands by his declared unionist principles as an honourable person.

But to pretend their reporting is imparial, and even champion their neutrality is frankly obscene. It's fraud. It's theft of the truth and fundamentally dishonest.

You might call it unethical, but still professional. Some might say the same about prostitution.
# UpSpake 2012-11-12 08:25
How can the BBC be 'out of touch' when they have the most top heavy management structure of any organisation, anywhere in the world.
Not only groaning with senior management they draw down substantial salaries courtesy of the cash strapped Tax payer who regerettably due to many years of conditioning have no choice but to pay up on threat of prison.
That is truly TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION and just the sceanrio that caused our American cousins to rebel 200 years ago.
For so long as the BBC coerce the Tax from us and for so long as they do so with one hand whilst slapping us in the face with the other we get the BBC we deserve.
# whitburnsfinest 2012-11-12 14:29
Forgive my laziness, please - I've mostly copied and pasted my post from another thread:


How to get TVL/BBC to agree to you not having a TV licence - and then GET THEM TO PAY YOU TO NOT HAVE ONE.

I called them up and explained that I wanted to cancel my licence, keeping the reason vague. So they sent me a letter confirming that I no longer needed one. They then sent me a refund of £62.39. So now I have:

1) A valid, legal bit of paper to wave in the faces of the doorstep trolls when they come a-callin' - sent from their own company so they can't argue with it
2) A nice wee bit of extra money to go towards my broadband on which I can watch iplayer, stvplayer, 4OD etc etc (an hour after whatever programme has been broadcast, of course)
3) A clear conscience as none of what I did bent or broke the law, even fractionally.
4) A warm, fuzzy satisfaction at having cost them £62.39

# art1001 2012-11-12 08:31
I think its time we said openly if you want to have the chance to dump the LIcense Tax and give end up giving your money to a bunch of old boy network perverts then the ONLY WAY is to vote YES.
# Soloman 2012-11-12 09:44
Is there any mileage in Ofgem? I heard in last weeks news that after the Schofield/Cameron stuff, that over 100 people had complained and there would be an investigation,, yet hundreds complain to the BBC about pro unionist views and they (BBC) send a nice we email explaining the 3 monkeys mantra....
# Bubs 2012-11-12 12:54
As far as I'm aware Ofgem has no jurisdiction over the BBC. The regulator for the BBC is the BBC Trust i.e. Lord Patten.
# Old Smokey 2012-11-12 14:06
# Bubs 2012-11-12 22:48
Thanks Old Smokey. Should have said Ofcom and not Ofgem!!
# alexb 2012-11-12 10:08
Having just heard the latest statement from the B.B.C, the "McQuarrie" report, it,s as clear as mud, at least to me. The phrase, "Moving around the deckchairs on the Titanic" comes readily to mind inasmuch as it says nothing about the reasons that caused the inaccuracies on Thursday,s Newsnight programme. Since this enquiry was conducted by the very person who presides over the "unionista" B.B.C Scotland, I, for one, would have no confidence that a lackey such as him, could produce a report with any gravitas. Unless the acting D.G makes it clear in his appearance later today who was to blame for this fiasco, which I doubt, then the integrity and fairness which this organisation was once known and respected for will have all but disappeared. That, coupled with the absurd decision to award Entwhistle £450,000 of public money for his incompetence, should ensure a "root and branch" clear out at the now, non-ethical B.B.C. That,s our only hope for at least balanced reporting on independence
# J Wil 2012-11-12 11:47
We are hearing now that the £450,000 was a gift to Entwistle as his contract only required him to have half his salary (even that would be too much).

Who awarded the gift. Was is Chris Patten? If so he should get the chop. It is disgusting to hear Patten talk about looking after the interests of licence payers when he is doing exactly the opposite. He is now being criticised for being too cosy with the BBC, instead of doing the job he was contracted to do. Saying one thing and doing another is not good enough.
# James01 2012-11-12 10:19
The fact that the head of BBC Scotland is conducting an investigation when he himself should be being investigated is laughable. The BBC is a Unionist organisation by its very nature yet they're being entrusted to cover the independence debate in balanced way, without any checks or balances whatsoever.
# indy2014 2012-11-12 10:21

Get rid of your Sky, freesat and freeview boxes and aerials.

Use a smart tv or smart tv box to catch up on iplayer, itv, 4od and the rest (don't watch live broadcasts-wait till they're finished) and your totally legal.
# tartanfever 2012-11-12 10:46
After watching various interviews and reading reports from Chris Patten over the last couple of weeks I think he should go. He's clearly forgotten his role and what those duties entail.

As head of the BBC Trust, his job is to act on behalf of licence fee payers as our watchdog. He s paid out of licence fee money and it is us he represents.

Instead he's acting more as a BBC apologist.

Last week on comments made by politicians over the Savile scandal, Patten completely mis-cued his response to one about the importance of BBC 'independence'. How this was relevant to the very specific point be put forward I have no idea.

Since then, he's played on the usual rhetoric, the 'great history of BBC news', 'impartiality', ''world renown' and so on. He's even gone as far as a politically motivated attack on the Murdoch press and their anti- BBC stance. How this is regarded as part of his role as BBC Trust chair I have no idea.
# alexb 2012-11-12 10:46
Following on, it doesn,t exactly fill me with confidence to read that the acting D.G is a former soft drink executive, whose previous claim to fame was his abortive attempt to close down Radio 6.As Peter Sissons says in today,s D.M, no trust, no integrity left. Fully agree with UpSpake that it should be an encrypted service.
# velofello 2012-11-12 11:33
Barntorc:You are way off line complaining of O/T responses. Their comments didn't divert me from the content of this article. you might even say their comments "add colour".

The article is excellent. Ideally the next move would be to submit it to MSM and the BBC - accompanied by the referenced distortions and lies to head off denials.No doubt MSM and BBC will be aware of the article as I type this but ignoring a submitted article from a credible and popular news outlet, would they be so bold?
Next a printed version, would be useful to the Yes campaign, particularly if the MSM and BBC just ignore the article and shove it in the round file.
# Barontorc 2012-11-12 12:23
Vellofello - I don't think I was being anything more than crabbit - and apologies to the three posters who felt I spiked them, but I saw the article as a real door opener and to have it O/T'd 4 or 5 posts in, seemed - to me, to take something away from it. Pace!
# farrochie 2012-11-12 12:34
Barontorc, I have some sympathy with your crabbit response. I asked NNS Scotland a few times via Contact Us to create an "Open Thread" for O/T news comments that people pick up during each day and that are not under the main headings. I still think it would be a useful concept. How about it NNS?
# Dundonian West 2012-11-12 11:47
First class G.A Ponsoby.
The BEST yet here on Newsnetscotland .
This article deserves wider circulation.
Come on lads and lasses!
# Indy_Scot 2012-11-12 13:14
Half a million pounds of presumably licence fee payers’ money for 50 days work.

Clear he is not as daft as people first thought.
# Galen10 2012-11-12 13:16
This article is timely, well argued, and quite simply over-long. NNS need to A) make more judicious use of editing overlong contributions, and B) stop deleting posts as they did above, abandon - or at least increase - the word limit on responses.

I'm afraid that whilst I really admired NNS, and want to see it thrive, I increasingly go elsewhere as my first port of call to sites with a free-er approach. I agree with velofello that either you have to make room for O/T posts elsewhere, or move them, or stop being so anal about them!
# Big Eye 2012-11-12 13:22
Both the Heritage Foundation and the organisation Reporters without Borders measure press freedom and list each year countries in ranking order who have the fairest and most open media. The UK is by no means a star on these lists but if these organisations were to know more about what is happening in Scotland then the UK would plummet further.

We should use the international press to highlight what is happening. I am sure organisations like CNN would be happy to have a dig at the BBC for bias and misrepresentati on and given the many Scots in North America it would be of considerable interest to their viewers as well
# bipod 2012-11-12 13:32
O/T but has anyone here read about the proposed high speed rail line between Edinburgh and Glasgow?

I am glad to see that the Scottish government is thinking ahead.
# J Wil 2012-11-12 13:56
However, another put-down by BBC Scotland on the lunchtime news. Their crib? That it will not be fully implemented for 12 years.

They just can't stop themselves from putting a damper on anything the SG does.

Contrast that with a very upbeat report on in the topic in The Herald, which lists all the complimentary remarks and support from a number of organizations, including Glasgow Council.

BBC Scotland are obviously beyond help.

_______________ _______________ _

NNS are getting very sensitive about any criticism it gets.

It gets more and more Stalinistic by the day. More comments deleted. It does not bode well for the publication.

We used to have a site that worked. It got where it is today because it worked in that original format and let people have their say. Now the wise ones want to change it. Sounds a bit like the same discredited road that the BBC has taken.
# From The Suburbs 2012-11-12 13:35
Heard some BBC type say on GMS that if Newsnight went off screen then Newsnight Scotland would certainly go.

Now while some of the above might welcome this it would be a disaster as it is only place where Scottish current affairs is discussed on BBC TV.

Also the implication from the metropolitan mind set is instructive as it implies BBC Scotland would not be allowed to screen such a programme without the big brother forerunner.
# Old Smokey 2012-11-12 13:42
Totally agree, I found the remarks on GMS a bit stupid. Newsnight Scotland isnt joined at the hip with the network version. The advantage would be for Newsnet Scotland to take on the whole 1030 to 1120 slot, instead of the existing 1100 to 1120 slot and allow them to expand. Unfortunately BBC Scotland doesnt have the where with all to think they could do it
# X_Sticks 2012-11-12 14:08
Would we really want a full 50 minutes of propaganda every weekday night (bearing in mind that Scotland doesn't currently get a Friday night programme, Newsnight Review being much more important than Scottish affairs)?

I don't know that my health would withstand 50 minutes!
# Old Smokey 2012-11-12 16:42
When you put it that way, your right, I dont think my blood pressure could manage 50 minutes of the usual bias nonsense either ( I think I was in my parallel universe thing where Scotland is served by a totally balanced and unbias broadcaster)
# farrochie 2012-11-12 14:20
Intersting article on the "black art" of spin from The Firm:
# velofello 2012-11-12 14:36
Crabbit! Maybe you but not me I'm just really focussed, or so I like to think. And I wish to declare my agreement to Galen 10 since he agrees with me.
Less flipperly ( acknowledgement s to Al Flipper Darling), NNS is the pioneer news site for unbiased reporting, I value it and wish it to prosper. It does seems some long time since the team of NNS posted any communication to their readers. NNS seems to have become impersonal.

Good riddance to Newsnight and NewsnightScotla nd. STV do a better job.
Imagine living in a country that imposes a tax to watch the state broadcaster TV or risk being fined even when there is free - to - watch TV available?
Is that how things are in Eastern Bloc countries?
Does that really happen in communist countries?
# mackdee 2012-11-12 15:00
It does not happen in Russia Velofello, State Tv appears to me very unbiased, in fact ive regularly watched programmes about people protesting against United Russia. It is also shown all over the news. However i do believe it is now illegal for Journalists to personally attack the Government. Either way ive seen more unbiased reporting on Russia Today about Scottish Independence than i have on our precious BBC.
# EphemeralDeception 2012-11-12 19:05
This is a great article but at the end of the day can only have a minor impact.
It can only have a minor impact because the Scottish Government needs to take the case against the BBC forward.

Except the Scottish Government is not willing to make a public stance on this. I myself have contacted the minister in charge of media and they see nothing badly wrong.

If the Scottish government was waiting for the right time to air concerns about the conduct of the BBC in Scotland, then now is that time.

Nothing but radio silence. Therefore all we are doing is piddling against the wind here. Having said that, while newsnet scotland grows in readership it also remains a growing thorn in the side of the establishment.
# bleach 2012-11-12 20:55
Excellent article, G.A. Ponsonby !
# Fourfolksache 2012-11-12 22:07
If only the SG could take on the BBC" if they did they would immediately be attacked for political interference. They can complain about investment especially leading up 2014 but what we need is a public campaign from licence payers? A campaign ideally not restricted to SNP supporters. Ideas.?
# clochoderic 2012-11-12 23:30
Interesting Newsnight Scotland with Lesley Riddoch and Lindsay Paterson laying into BBC Scotlandshire - the cracks are starting to show.
Opposed by gormless beeboid and a Meeja boffin from the Glasgow College of spanners who thought the BBC were just great.
No contest.
# reiver 2012-11-12 23:35
but refreshing at least that Newsnight Scotland chose to debate their own future....
# Edna Caine 2012-11-13 00:31
When in Belgium, I was intrigued to discover that Wallonians pay a TV tax but the people of Flanders abolished theirs in 2001. Obviously, devolved government in Belgium is more effective than in certain other countries.

P.S. the Walloons also pay an additional tax for the use of a car radio!
# sneckedagain 2012-11-13 01:37
The only way any protest or demonstration about the BBC will have any effect would be if it was in London.
That would get international coverage
# Edna Caine 2012-11-13 02:13
The high heid-yin of the Belters Together, the RT Hon Alistair Darling was a fierce opponent of PFI/PPP when it was first proposed by John Major.

"In opposition, when Labour opposed PFI, Alistair Darling complained that “apparent savings now could be countered by the formidable commitment on revenue expenditure in years to come”. Now, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, he has decided to keep disguising this commitment from the public. Government departments will publish two sets of accounts: one which keeps PFI schemes on the books to meet international standards, another that keeps them off the books in order to conceal the extent of public liabilities. This is what Enron did: it produced different sets of accounts for different audiences."

Why should anyone believe what he says now?
# J Wil 2012-11-13 10:49
From parochial mediocrity to national meritocracy.

It seems that MacQuarrie has been thrust into the limelight regarding the BBC mess in London.

The Herald is making a big issue of MacQuarrie's report today. Big deal.

One commentator said last night on the news that his report "...stated the bleeding obvious..."
# Brechin 2012-11-13 12:51
Great article. I strongly suggest that we continue to focus our condemnation of the BBC on BBC Scotland and its strong links and appalling bias towards the Labour party in Scotland. Their pro-unionism follows naturally from this relationship.

If we talk about the "British" aspect of the BBC or London-centricity or English bias or the fact that the weathermen always make it rain in Scotland then we can be too easily dismissed as chippy nats with the usual anti-English sentiments.

The very specific problem is that institutionally and individually (literally!) BBC Scotland and Scottish Labour have been in bed together for far too long. In the current climate this is entirely unacceptable and is part of the unprofessionali sm and sense of entitlement that is manifesting itself throughout the organisation at the moment.
# call me dave 2012-11-15 14:39
Hi Just in and catching the news:
Dave Lee Travis arrested on suspicion of sexual offences

Dave Lee Travis is best known for his 25-year stint on Radio 1

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